Skype in the Classroom

There are always debates about whether or not certain technological tools should be used in the classroom. In classrooms today it is not a surprise to see a television, computer, and a smartboard, if not more tech gadgets. With these advances in technology and the great things that we can do with different tech tools, there is often issues when it comes to different sites that are used in the classroom. A lot of schools ban all forms of social networking such as Facebook and Twitter, even though these sites can be argued as an educational tool or that it is necessary to teach students the impact of these social networking sites and how to stay safe while using them instead of banning them in schools.

A few weeks ago, my EBus class had a guest lecturer give us a presentation on inter-disciplinary education and her experiences. Having not had much previous knowledge about inter-disciplinary education, this was a great opportunity for me to learn from someone who had first-hand experience with this type of education. The twist to this guest lecture was the fact that the entire lecture was done through the use of Skype.

I found that using Skype to connect with other educators was very beneficial for our class, it allowed us to connect with an educator in another province to hear about her experiences. I think that Skype can be used for both personal and educational purposes and would love to use Skype in my classrooms in the future.

Through some research, I have found an educational Skype Wiki that lays out safety issues, potential problems, benefits and other resources.

I do understand that there are a number of concerns when it comes to safety, privacy and other problems that may come with the use of Skype in the classroom but I believe that if it is used properly, Skype could be a great educational tool for teachers to connect with each other and provide students with new knowledge and perspectives.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Skype in the Classroom

  1. I was really hoping to Skype with one of the out-of-town business ed interns during my internship. I thought it would have been really fun to work through a case study or discuss a legal issue with people from the small town of Broadview. Unfortunately, I was the only intern that had a Law class, so this wasn’t possible.

    I’ve been hearing of Skype for years but have only recently started using it to keep in touch with my friend from Winnipeg. If parents or administration are worried about privacy the chat can be limited to audio. I’m amazed at the call quality in Skype, and having an absence of video shouldn’t detract too much from learning taking place.

  2. Also being in the EBus class, I can agree that it was a great experience using Skype with our guest lecturer. That was actually the first time I have ever used Skype before, and I can definitely see the amazing benefits this could have in a classroom, especially when it comes to guest speakers.

    For example in an Entrepreneurship class, bringing entrepreneurs to talk to your class can be a great learning experience, however we all know how hectic our lives can be, thus scheduling a guest speaker can be tough. With the use of Skype this cuts down on the valuable time spent traveling to and from the speaker’s work to the school, and may be a lot more convenient.

    Obviously there are issues with privacy and what not by bringing Skype in, but when used properly for educational purposes I think the benefits greatly outweigh the possible issues.

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